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Gratitude In The Hard Season

Often the season of life that we find ourselves in, can allow the grumblings and complaints to seep in if we are not careful.  To be truly thankful, I have learned that I must be intentional about focusing on my “attitude of gratitude”, OR before I know it the grumblings and complaints take over.  With the thought of being intentional in mind, I decided to pull out an old Thanksgiving challenge as my starting point this month.

Even though I have done this challenge at least three times, the reflection questions at the beginning stopped me in my tracks on day 1.  


“In your own words, what does gratitude mean?”

Before I could come up with my own definition, I had to pause and look up the meaning of gratitude in the dictionary.  

Webster defined gratitude as:  the state of being grateful

I just love when the word I am looking up is used in the definition…Not!  Let’s now look at what grateful is defined as in the dictionary.  

Webster defined grateful as:  appreciative of benefits received, affording contentment

Looking at that definition, I think you would agree with me and say it’s easy to be grateful when things are good in your life.  I think you would also agree with me that it’s easy to be content when there are no unexpected turns in life.  

Often in our hard seasons of life, we can wonder does God even see us. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the things that we already know.  What “I know” was reinforced recently to me when I was reading in His living word.  

Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.  And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. Mark 6:48-51

“What I know” is that God sees us straining, and He sees that things are pushing against us in those hard seasons of life.  However, how often in the midst of our storm do even call out to God for help?  Or do we instead find ourselves just trying to strain harder.  Or maybe we don’t even take time to look up from our storm to see that God is standing by us.  

Let's take a look at what Matthew tells us about how Peter responded during this storm.  

So He said, “Come.”  And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water with Jesus.  But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!  Matthew 14:29-30

Jesus and Peter are both walking on the water in the midst of the storm!!  However, then Peter’s “BUT” happens, "But when he saw the wind…”  Peter took his eyes off of Jesus, he shifted his focus to the storm instead of keeping them on Jesus.  

How often are we just like Peter?  “We know” that God is with us in the midst of our hard season, we maybe even see Him.  However, then our “BUT” happens, we become focused on the storm raging around us instead of Jesus.

So, the question is how do we continue to have an “attitude of gratitude” when we find ourselves the midst of a storm?  Maybe, you are there right now in the middle of a hard season.  Instead of being focused on the storm, I want to encourage you to be intentional about saying to yourself “what you know” about God.  Here are a few that I have recently used:

  • I maybe weak in this hard season, But I know my God will give me strength

  • I may get tired in this storm, But I know my God will give me rest

  • I maybe feeling uncertain right now, But I know my God will give me peace

  • I may have no idea what to do next, But I know my God will give me help

If we are intentional about reminding ourselves what “we know” and keeping our eyes on Jesus in the midst of our storm – then we can have that “attitude of gratitude” in all seasons of life by allowing Christ to be our focus through it.  

I would like to close in sharing a prayer that you can use during your hard season.  

Lord, help me to become more aware that in the midst of my storms that you are there. As I am straining walking through this season of life, let me see you.  As I am rowing against the winds of this life, let me feel you.  Lord, let me be intentional about keeping my focus off of the storm and onto You.  You are the only One that can either steady the storm or steady me.  Lord, I would ask that you fill me with an attitude of gratitude for all that you have done for me.  

Additional readings:  

  • In the book of the gospels, we read about the disciples who found themselves in the middle of a storm.  You will find these passages in Mark 6:45-52, Matthew 14:22-33, and John 6:15-21.  

  • In the book of Daniel, we read about three boys who found themselves in the middle of a fire.  You will find this passage in Daniel 3:8-30.


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